Sciences: a selection of beautiful books for the holidays

This selection of fine books published in 2022 was produced by the Planet and Science & Medicine departments. A list of eleven titles to offer or to offer for the end of year celebrations.

The Apollo epic as we have not seen it

Apollo Remastered, by Andy Saunders (Oak, 450 p., €85).

Half a century after the end of the Apollo program, it lives again through an extraordinary book. Its author, the Briton Andy Saunders, selected some three hundred pictures from the thirty-five thousand taken during the missions, and also extracted images from the films shot by the astronauts. All photographs have been reprocessed from the original films. The result is a visual sumptuousness that gives a fair idea of ​​what was, without doubt, the greatest human adventure.

Also noteworthy is the book by Thomas Pesquet, The Earth in our hands (Flammarion / ESA, 416 pages, 39 euros), in which the French astronaut recounts through images his 2021 mission aboard the International Space Station.

In the footsteps of Alfred Russel Wallace

The Malay Archipelago, by Alfred Russel Wallace (Carrot Feather, 480 p., €49)

2023 will mark the bicentenary of the birth of English naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace (1823-1913). If posterity has retained the figure of Charles Darwin (1809-1882), Wallace must be credited with the co-discovery of the principle of natural selection. It was also under his spur that Darwin decided to make public the revolutionary theory of evolution. Wallace was then in the Malay Archipelago, which he traveled from 1854 to 1862. His travelogue finds a superb setting in this beautiful book, where period engravings sit side by side with current photographs. Wallace already noted that access to an inviolate nature was becoming difficult: “The large-scale cultivation of coffee and cocoa having led to the clearing of vast areas of forest (…) far inland”he wrote in 1859 to the Celebes.

living with trees

Trees. From roots to leaves, by Paul Smith (Flammarion, 320 p., €49)

They are the largest living beings on our planet. They feed us, shelter us, inspire us, heal us. However, trees remain largely unknown to us, to the point that 350 million years after their appearance on earth we have embarked on an unprecedented enterprise of mass destruction. So Paul Smith, former head of the seed bank at Kew Gardens, London, decided to celebrate those who remain “our muses, our protectors and our silent companions”. Sumptuous photographs, enlightening drawings, precise texts: he undertakes, from seeds to fruits, to make us discover, with a discreet erudition, these sensitive and generous, powerful and delicate beings. An essential dive in the forest.

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Sciences: a selection of beautiful books for the holidays